Mumbai

  Our bollywood dream died, with that bearded superstar in all the films (can’t remember his name); he had an accident and our shoot was cancelled L it’s a real shame as we are leaving Mumbai tomorrow and will not be returning.

 

  Mumbai is not nearly as painful as last time, now that we have a place to stay.  We where not expecting to see much except a Bollywood movie set, but when that didn’t happen, we went to Elephant Island instead J but we had to pay “tourist tax” 5 rupees, which was fair followed by “foreign tourist tax” of 250 rupees at the top of the hill, which was not fair as the locals paid 10 (they have a similar scheme in Turkey…) .

 

  It was awesome.  The carvings where fantastic; it must have taken centauries to carve them all out.  At the top of the island was an old skool tilt / pivot navy gun (Pre WW1 I think), but because we are in India with no Health and Safety etc, we could wonder into the thing and into some scary military tunnels, which was super cool, because you know in England they would not let you near any of the cool stuff.  Did I mention the Monkeys?

 

 

 

(Scary gun battery caves below)

Another guy was waiting with us for the Bollywood thing, who we befriended and went out with in the evening.  We went to our first Indian night club, and I have to say even though it was empty as we where way to early, it was very cool.  We went to some well to do, bar place as well, with possibly the best toilet in the world (these things become important out here).

 

  We have been using Leopalds again, and now that I am no longer a green traveller I can say that they are shit and charge to much; I spent 200 rupees on a plate of Nachos and Salsa, with degusting nachos made of garam flour and crappy crap sauce.  We checked out their weird club thing also, which was techno BS.

 

  The poverty here is so bad.  I am hardened to homeless people from my experience in London.  But here, they are actually starving.  A  old person on a skateboard was non-verbally begging to me, when we where saying goodbye to someone; he was old and messed up, so I doubt his parents made him that way to be an effective beggar, as some of you are thinking.  It is so very bad.  It is unbelievable.  Mike gave someone half a coke, and he was grateful as he is so poor.  I don’t understand how they could allow that: at least our homeless people are in a position to refuse food when offered to them, in favour of hard cash for drugs.

 

  I have been offered drugs so many time since getting dreads, it is getting stupid! I have almost got to the point where I want to hit these fuckers every time they put their dirty hands on me and follow me up the road.   I only plan to keep the dreads for a month, but no doubt we will be in Nepal by then.  The dreads really seem to blow peoples minds here, like it is some major thing.

 

  We are catching another train out of here heading north tomorrow.  I can’t wait to be out of Mumbai again.

 

On our second day in Mumbai, we went to check out the antiques market, which was super cool.  It is like they gutted 30 old colonial ships and then stuck EVERYTHING in the shops, like the port windows and doors etc, it is crazy.  We also wondered through their normal markets and where surprised to see shops for anything and everything you can think of… like an entire shop for office chair wheels.

 

Our stay in Mumbai was short, and I would have liked to stay longer, but it is to expensive.  We got on a train to Arangabad and will go from here.   I don’t think I can put into words how bad the train journey was, but I will try.  We get on the train, immediately someone tries to steal one of the beds, just like last time, by holding a ticket, refusing to show it and assuming we are stupid tourists.   We are sleeping in a cheap 6 bed set up, with 2 other beds in a T-bone.  One of the two other guys wants a nap and tries to steal Mike’s bed… we then refuse and he then makes me move, so four of us are on one bench; he then waits 15 minutes for the random dude on the end of his bed to finish dinner before setting up his bed, all the while we are uncomfortable and had to abandon a game of cards.  Some little street seller kids try to sell us some sticky superman toys, which we refuse; they then sit with us for 20 minutes before grabbing at my dreads, thinking that violating someone’s private space is so very funny… so I go mental, they apologise, but then sit there for a while arguing about what happened, and from what I can tell, discussing what they should do to me; they left though, so everything was fine… until a few others came along to play with my hair, this time I had a tap on the shoulder so I allowed  it.  I don’t like to be touched, but you have to get used to it here; your hair and face are off limits, no matter what culture you are in.  But this is all trivial stuff compared to what happened: An entire family of people, purchased only one bed on the end, and then proceeded to have family dinner on everyone else’s beds, including mine.  Some dude was eating lentil Dahl at the end of my bed for a least an hour while laughing and singing; some kids where at the end of someone else’s bed and I assumed it was one of those cultural things; the guy disappeared after dinner and then came back to find my legs firmly over the edges blocking him and he did not say a thing, just like when he did not even ask me or even make eye contact or seek and kind of approval; the kids where all laughing as they violated other peoples upper bunks.  I did not want to step into some cultural minefield so I remained quite as with the locals.  Eventually it is their bed time (no consideration was given to anyone else’s sleep, only their own) and then it comes to finding beds for excessive people… like directly beneath us on the floor and at the end of another guys bed etc.  No conductor or ticket inspector even bothered to check our carriage, but the officials at the end seemed only to mind when the walkway was blocked: why even buy a ticket? Anyway I am awoke by other Tom shouting at this guy among the pack who looks to be going through our bags, but gestures he was only tucking in his child at 2:30am… so after we shout at him for a while, there is a uneasy truce with him sitting at the end of the other guys bed, he has the benefit of the doubt but we sat up with the light on for a while, with this shifty character until someone turned it off.  I difted off to bed until it was time to leave and had to force our way past a dozen guys all jockeying for our spare beds, moaning as we tried to leave as we where in their way, and it is “ridiculous” that we have big packs and are trying to leave the train, all the while they are blocking us, minds with a singular thought of our beds.   The train journey made me sick again, but I have flue now, not the bad thing.

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